Death of James, Jesus’ Brother
As previously stated, these are some of the most significant events that occurred during Jesus’ early public ministry. For now, because we do not have time to go into detail about each one of them, I’d like to highlight a few of them so that we can see how much Jesus cared about the lives of people from all different kinds of backgrounds. Those He chose to be his apostles provide us with our first illustration: The Bible states in Matthew 4:18 that During one of his walks along the Sea of Galilee, Jesus came across two brothers, Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother, who were fishing and were casting a net into the water.
19When they heard His voice, they immediately left their nets to follow Him.
They were the sons of Zebedee.
Mathew 9:9 (Matthew 9:9) During His journey from that location, Jesus came across a man named Matthew who was working at a tax office.
- In his teachings, Jesus was non-discriminatory.
- To be honest, he was only looking for those who were willing listen to His teachings and follow in His footsteps.
- It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done in the past; Jesus wants you to know that you have a place in His kingdom if you are willing to listen to His Word and follow after Him, regardless of your past.
- Matthew 9:10 is a Bible verse that teaches about forgiveness.
- Upon discovering this, the Pharisees enquired of Him’s disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collector and sinners?” After hearing this, Jesus said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick do.
- The unfortunate reality is that some Christians have the same attitude as these Pharisees; however, Jesus does not show partiality and is interested in everyone who is willing to listen.
- It was Jesus’ presence at the wedding feast in Canaan that served as our second example of His concern for our lives.
- Jesus and His disciples were both invited to the wedding, which took place a short while later.
Jesus responded to her by saying, “Woman, what is your concern that has anything to do with Me?” I have not reached my zenith.” 5His mother instructed the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” 6Now there were six stone waterpots placed there, each containing twenty or thirty gallons of water, in accordance with the Jewish purification customs.
- In fact, they completely filled them.
- The bridegroom was summoned by his master of the feast after the master of the feast tasted the water that had been turned into wine and realized he didn’t know where the water had come from (the servants who had drawn the water, however, were aware of its source).
- While this event commemorates the first miracle performed by Jesus, it also demonstrates how the Messiah interacted with those who were attending such social occasions.
- In spite of the fact that their marriage is much more than this social event, Jesus demonstrated His concern by turning water into wine so that the newlyweds would not be embarrassed.
- When two people come together as one, they will support and encourage one another through the difficulties of life and in their commitment to God.
- Because Jesus knew that when two people are united in their love for God, their children will be raised in the way of God, and the cycle will continue throughout the generations.
- The meeting between Jesus and the Samaritan women at the well serves as our third illustration of grace.
- Then He went to a city in Samaria named Sychar, which was close to the tract of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
- Consequently, Jesus sat by the well since he was exhausted fromHisjourney.
- �7 To fetch water, a woman from Samaria arrived.
- 8Because His disciples had gone into the city to get some lunch, Jesus was alone in the church.
10Christ responded by saying to her, “If you had known the gift of God, and who it is who asks you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11The lady approached Him and said, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.'” So, where do you receive your source of life-giving water from then?
- The woman replied, “I don’t have a spouse,” and that was that.
- 22″You worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, for salvation belongs to the Jews.
- �24 Those who worship God must do so in spirit and in truth, since God is Spirit.
- It will be revealed to us by the Lord when He appears.
- His followers arrived at this point and were amazed that He was conversing with a lady; however no one inquired as to what He was looking for or why He was conversing with her.
- ” ‘Could this possibly be the Messiah?’ With Jesus’ meeting with this lady, there are several fantastic lessons that may be taught.
- Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans, as I’ve pointed out on several occasions in the past.
Talking to a woman in public was also considered inappropriate for a Jewish guy.
It seemed to him that this woman represented an excellent chance to impart a significant lesson about the future of how we would worship God and how He is the Messiah to us.
It makes no difference what their race is or what their social customs are; everyone deserves to hear about God and to be asked to learn more about Him.
The rest of John 4 reveals that many more people came to trust in Jesus as a result of His readiness to love everyone, regardless of their background or beliefs.
In order to best emulate Jesus, let us do our best.
Revelation 3:20 Nicademus was a Pharisee who was considered to be the ruler of the Jews by his peers.
Is he able to enter his mother’s womb a second time and give birth?” �5 “Most definitely, I say to you, unless a person is born of water and the Spirit, he will not be able to enter the kingdom of God.
Always willing to share his knowledge with others, he was a valuable resource.
Jesus taught him despite the fact that this guy was a member of the leadership that was attempting to destroy Him.
In our reading, he was informing Nicodemus that the Jews would not be instantly transferred into the kingdom of God since they, like everyone else, would have to go through a spiritual rebirth, which occurs at the time of one’s water baptism, in order to be accepted into the kingdom.
It is necessary to be born again of water and the Spirit in order to enter the kingdom of God, as Jesus stated.
Even while it is simple to despise your adversaries and wish that they would perish in hell, we should refrain from adopting such a stance.
If everyone else does it, why don’t even tax collectors?
In Jesus’ ministry, he took advantage of every situation, no matter where He was, who He was talking to, or what time of day it was.
According to Jesus’ instructions to His followers, one of their responsibilities was to preach the Gospel to everyone.
16″He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Nevertheless, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive authority, and you will be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the furthest reaches of the globe” (Acts 1:8).
Because of what Jesus said and foretold, it started in Jerusalem (Isa.
From then, the gospel continued to be disseminated, even to Gentiles, since under the new covenant established by Jesus, anyone who is ready to hear and accept His message can be adopted as a child of God.
Because Jesus is so concerned about each and every one of us and desires that we all be saved, we should be able to appreciate Jesus’ love for each and every one of us even more.
4For this is acceptable and pleasing in the eyes of God our Savior, 4who wishes that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
Unlike some who regard the Lord as lazy in keeping His word, the Lord is patient with us and does not wish for anybody to perish but rather for everyone to come to repentance.
In order to provide everyone with the chance to know God and do His will, I hope that we will all follow in the footsteps of Jesus’ early ministry examples. Based on Ted Cline’s original work.
Introduction: What Sort of Person James Was
Because of his outstanding righteousness, James was referred to as “the Just.” Rumor has it that he was a Nazirite from the moment he was conceived in his mother’s womb. He didn’t consume any alcoholic beverages or meat, and he was vegetarian. He never clipped his hair, he never anointed himself with oil, and he never had a shower. Note: I do not accept this rumor in its entirety. The idea of Joseph and Mary asking this of Jesus’ younger brother escapes me, just as the idea of James the Just, the long-serving bishop of Jerusalem who was known to posterity as “James the Just,” escapes me as well.
In addition to being renowned as “the Just,” he was also known as the “Bulwark of the People.”
Seven Sects of Judaism
Because of his outstanding righteousness, James was dubbed “the Just.” His mother’s womb is said to have been filled with Nazirites, according to rumor. The man didn’t consume any alcoholic beverages and he didn’t consume any animal products. He never clipped his hair, he never anointed himself with oil, and he never had a shower or bath. It is important to note that I do not trust this notion at all. The idea of Joseph and Mary requiring this of Jesus’ younger brother escapes me, just as the idea of James the Just, the long-serving bishop of Jerusalem who was known to history as “James the Just,” escapes me as well.
His other titles, in addition to “the Just,” included “Bulwark of the People.”
Even the seven factions of Judaism admired James for his righteousness, which led to his acceptance by everyone (see sidebar). They used to ask him what he thought about Jesus, and he would always respond by saying that Jesus was the Savior. As a result of the fact that some of those sects did not believe in the resurrection, only a small number of them accepted Jesus as their Christ. Those that did, on the other hand, did so because of James.
James the Just Arouses the Wrath of the Rulers
After a while, James’ influence grew to such an extent that even members of the ruling elite began to believe him, much to the chagrin of the scribes and Pharisees. Because of this, they grew concerned that the public would soon turn to Jesus as the Messiah. The Pharisees believed that they might persuade James to discourage the people from believing in Jesus, maybe as a result of his strict observance of the Law. On Passover, they requested him to speak from the top of the temple, which he agreed to do.
They carried him to the top of the temple, where they yelled to him from the ground below: “Oh, righteous one, in whom we may place great trust; the people are being led astray in the name of Jesus, the crucified one.
James was fully prepared to take full advantage of such a magnificent chance!
The Pharisees were appalled, but the majority of the people were not. “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they cried out in response. The Pharisees, realizing what a terrible error they’d made, burst into tears and cried out, “Oh, my God! The one who is virtuous is likewise in wrong!”
The Death of James the Just
As you can undoubtedly assume, this had little impact on the audience in attendance. As a result, the next logical step was to drag him down from the temple, therefore informing the public of what would happen to anyone who dared to believe in Jesus. After climbing the temple in the midst of the commotion, they reached the pinnacle and hurled James from the top of the structure. It did not result in his death. Then he got down on his knees and began praying for them. “Thank you, Lord God our Father, for forgiving them!
- They are completely oblivious to what they are doing.” This would not be acceptable!
- One of the priests, a son of the Rechabites, who had been named by Jeremiah the prophet (ch.
- What exactly are you doing?
- After taking out one of the clubs that he used to pound clothing, a fuller (i.e., a launderer) hit James in the head with it, killing him in one blow.
Ramifications of the Death of James the Just
Immediately following the death of James by the Pharisees, according to Hegesippus, Vespasian invaded Israel and besieged the city of Jerusalem. According to him, the events were so closely tied in terms of time that “the more rational even among the Jews were of the view that this was the cause of the siege of Jerusalem.” There’s a difficulty with that theory since the siege of Jerusalem took place in A.D. 66, and Josephus claims that James’ death occurred after Porcius Festus died and before Albinus was appointed procurator of Judea.
62, and while I am not well-versed in the history of Roman rulers, it doesn’t signify anything to me personally.
That’s a four-year gap in time.
Even Josephus claims that the Jews were so outraged by James’s illegal murder that they sought assistance from Albinus while he was on his way to Jerusalem to resolve the situation.
Josephus’ Account of the Death of James the Just
According to Josephus, Ananus succeeded Porcius Festus as the high priest of Jerusalem following the death of the procurator, Porcius. Ananus took advantage of the fact that the new procurator, Albinus, was on his way to take care of James’s affairs. Josephus does not provide a reason for Ananus’ desire to have James killed, other than to note that he “was of an exceeding daring and reckless temperament.” Josephus makes it extremely simple to understand. Ananus summoned the Sanhedrin, accused James of breaching the Law, as well as a few others, and ordered that they all be stoned as punishment.
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After the procurator, Porcius Festus, died, according to Josephus, Ananus was appointed as the high priest of Jerusalem. Ananus took advantage of the fact that the new procurator, Albinus, was on his way to replace James. Only that Ananus “was of an extremely audacious and reckless temperament” is given as to why he desired James’ death in Josephus’ account. Thankfully, Josephus simplifies the situation. After gathering the Sanhedrin, Ananus falsely accused James of breaching the Law, along with a number of others, and ordered that they all be stoned.
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Did James, the Brother of Jesus, Die as a Martyr?
According to Josephus, Ananus succeeded Porcius Festus as the high priest of Jerusalem upon the death of the procurator. Ananus saw a chance to get rid of James while the new procurator, Albinus, was on his way. There is no indication in Josephus as to why Ananus desired James’ murder other than the fact that he “was of an exceeding audacious and reckless temperament.” Josephus simplifies the situation. Ananus summoned the Sanhedrin, accused James of breaching the Law, as well as a few others, and ordered that they all be stoned as a result.
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The Death of Jesus’ Brother James
At the same time that the political battle between the Jews and the Romans was going on in the macro world, there was a continued, decades-long fight in Jerusalem between those Jewish Christians who believed Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah and the priestly class who did not accept this. From the 1930s until the 1950s, Stephen, the Apostle James, Paul, and the other Apostles were subjected to persecution by Jews in ecclesiastical authority who regarded the Christian group as a dangerous heresy and a threat to the Jewish people.
Some of the Apostles, as well as many others who had witnessed and accepted Jesus as their Messiah, were still alive and well in Jerusalem.
Saint James—Brother of Jesus and Bishop of Jerusalem is a Christian saint.
Even those in the priestly class who did not think that his brother was the Messiah held James in high regard as a fine and honorable man.
In the year 62, with hundreds of thousands of visitors in the city, “.they (the priests) gathered and addressed James, saying, “We call on you to control the people, since they have gone astray following Jesus, thinking him to be the Christ.” We appeal to you to persuade everyone who comes to the Passover celebration about Jesus, since we all put our faith in you.
So persuade the audience that Jesus is not to be misunderstood.
So the scribes and Pharisees forced James to stand on the temple parapet, where they yelled to him, “O righteous one, in whom we all need to put our trust, tell us, what does the door of Jesus imply, for the people are going astray after Jesus, who was killed, tell us.” “Why are you inquiring about the Son of Man?” James said in a loud voice.
- Not even the good one has gone astray!” ….
- “Let us stone James the Just,” they murmured to one another, and they proceeded to stone him since he had not been slain by the fall.
- They are completely oblivious to what they are doing.” While they began pelting him with stones, one of the monks yelled, “Stop!
- Stop!” What exactly are you up to?
- “He was beaten to death by James the Just (the brother of Jesus).” This was the nature of his martyrdom.
- In a short period of time, Vespasian attacked Judea and captured the people.” Hegesippus, Historia 5 (Hegesippus, Historia 5).
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Who Was James, Jesus’ Brother?
Jesus was born into a large family. Jesus’ brothers are named in Matthew 13:55-56: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, as well as sisters (plural), indicating that He had at least six siblings in all. When Jesus’ brothers are stated, James is usually placed first, which in Jesus’ day most likely implied that he was the oldest of the four brothers. James, also known as Old Camel Knees and James the Just, was the leader of the church in Jerusalem until his brutal murder in AD 62. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/Anyaberkut
What Does the Bible Say about James?
Jesus’ brothers make fun of Him in John 7:1-4. “Because even his own brothers did not trust in him,” says verse 5, explaining the situation. This is at the conclusion of Jesus’ public career, perhaps around six months before his death on the cross. The miracles of Jesus include healing a man who had been paralyzed for 38 years (John 5:2-9), feeding 5,000 men with a boy’s lunch (John 6:5-14), and walking on water (John 6:15). (John 6:16-21). Although he has witnessed miracles for more than two years, James remains skeptical.
James is expressly mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:7 as one of the people to whom Jesus appeared after His Resurrection. James thinks that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who has come to redeem people from their sins after witnessing his dead brother walking and talking to him. He does not announce himself as Jesus’ brother or as the leader of the church when he subsequently writes the Epistle of James, but rather as “James, the servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,” as he does in the book of Acts (James 1:1).
James is one of the 120 people who are filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which marks the beginning of the Church (Acts 2:1-4).
Photograph courtesy of Unsplash/Ben White
James Was a Wise Leader
When Paul travels to Jerusalem less than 10 years later, he meets with two church elders: Peter and James, the brother of Jesus, who are both apostles. Galatians 1:18-19 narrates this occurrence in detail, and Paul refers to James as an apostle, one of a limited group of people who had experienced the risen Christ and whose teaching had authority. James is one of the apostles who witnessed the rising Christ and whose teaching had authority. When Paul comes to Jerusalem 14 years later to settle the question of which Jewish rules apply to Gentile Christians, James is still the leader of the church in Jerusalem.
- An acrimonious and intricate conflict threatens to split the young Church in half.
- He gives people the freedom to express themselves completely, including all of their worries and disagreements.
- The majority of orators of the time flatteried their audiences with flowery compliments, weaved in anecdotes and cultural allusions, and finally came around to hinting to whatever it was that they were trying to get over to their audience.
- God is rescuing both Jews and Gentiles, according to Peter, and he affirms that statement.
- James then makes his final decision, which is a compromise.
- There is no longer any discussion.
- The apostle Paul refers to James as a pillar of the church and a man of high renown in Galatians 2:10, when narrating the tale of the Jerusalem Council in that city.
Additionally, he recalls that when James and the other elders gave their approval for his Gentile mission, the only thing they requested was that he keep the poor’s needs in mind. Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/chaiyapruek2520
Jesus’ Brother Was a Radical Advocate
When Paul travels to Jerusalem a little more than 10 years later, he meets with two church elders: Peter and James, Jesus’ brother. Galatians 1:18-19 narrates this occurrence in detail, and Paul refers to James as an apostle, one of a small group of people who had experienced the risen Christ and whose teaching had authority. James is one of the apostles who witnessed the rising Christ and whose teaching held authority. When Paul travels to Jerusalem 14 years later to settle the question of whether Jewish rules apply to Gentile Christians, James is still the head of the church in Jerusalem, according to the New Testament.
An acrimonious and intricate disagreement threatens to split the young Church in half.
Their thoughts, worries, and disagreements are allowed to be completely expressed by him.
The majority of orators of the time flatteried their audiences with flowery compliments, weaved in anecdotes and cultural allusions, and ultimately got around to hinting to whatever it was that they were trying to get through to their listeners It is basic, concise, and to the point that James delivers his statement in Acts 15:13-21.
- He quotes Amos 9:11-12 to demonstrate that the rescue of the Gentiles is not in opposition with, but rather a fulfillment of, what the Bible teaches about salvation.
- Instead of being burdened by Jewish regulations, Gentile Christians are to refrain from four practices that are likely to make fellowship between Jewish and Gentile believers difficult.
- His authority and knowledge are recognized, and his decision-making is fair and helpful to both the parties and the community.
- When James and the other elders approved of his mission to the Gentiles, the only thing they requested was that he keep the poor in mind, which he does throughout his writings.
As he did at the Jerusalem Council, James passes over the long-winded greetings and blessings and gets right to the point in the first verses of theEpistleof James. The fact that you are facing challenges of various types should be considered pure delight, dear brothers and sisters.” (See James 1:2.) When a pastor exhorts his congregation to trust God despite of their circumstances, to be faithful and pure, and to humbly submit to God, the heart of the pastor may be heard beating in his words.
In this letter to individuals who are “scattered throughout the nations,” James provides solace to those who are suffering by pointing them toward the everlasting perspective of the Bible.
For James, unity in the church is a top priority, as evidenced by his repeated exhortations to Christians to refrain from judging one another (James 2:12-13, 4:11-12), control their tongues and tempers (James 1:19-20, 3:2-12), and put aside the envy and selfish ambition that cause disorder, conflict, and quarrels (James 3:12-12).
- At the time of James’s last historical appearance in the Bible, he is celebrating over the Gentiles who have become members of God’s family and counseling Paul on how to reconcile divisions within the Church.
- James saw that Paul was not advocating that Jews should abandon their Jewish identity when they place their faith in Jesus.
- This uncertainty and divide can be resolved by James suggesting that Paul demonstrate that he still considers himself Jewish and adheres to the Law of Moses by engaging in a purification ceremony and paying for four other men to do the same, as suggested by James (Acts 21:17-26).
- His example of leadership exemplifies James 3:17-18 in action.
A harvest of righteousness will be reaped by peacemakers who sow the seeds of peace.” Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/kovop58
How Did Jesus’ Brother James Die?
The death of James is not mentioned in the Scriptures. James, the leader of the early church in Jerusalem, is likely still alive and serving as the book of Acts’ last chapter, which concludes with Paul under house arrest in Rome. The historian Josephus dates James’ death during a period of transition between two Roman rulers, indicating that he died around the year 62 AD, which is a likely date. By this point, James has earned himself a number of nicknames, including James the Just, Oblias (a Greek phrase that translates as “bulwark of the people”), and Old Camel Knees (a moniker that refers to his age).
Matt Erickson writes that Hegessipus, a 2ndcentury Christian, wrote that James was often found alone in the temple on his knees begging God to forgive the Jews and that he spent so much time on his knees in prayer that his knees “became hard like those of a camel.” Hegessipus also wrote that James spent so much time on his knees in prayer that his knees “became hard like those of a camel.” His behavior provided proof that he believed what he stated in James 5:16 regarding prayer.
- His trust would be put to the test in due course.
- It is this that concerns the Jewish authorities, who implore James to address the throng.
- The people are befuddled and are following a dead guy by the name of Jesus.
- “He is seated at the right side of God in the heavenly realms, and he will return on the clouds of heaven.” Many of the people are convinced right then and then that Jesus is the Resurrected Lord, and they begin to praise Him right there and then.
- “Oh my goodness!” they exclaim to the crowd.
- However, he is not killed, and as a result, the leaders begin stoning him.
- He prostrates himself before God, pleading with him to forgive the Jews.
- What exactly are you doing?
- Photograph courtesy of Unsplash/Annie Spratt.
Was James One of the 12 Disciples?
The vast majority of Biblical scholars agree that James the brother of Jesus should not be confused with James, the brother of John and the son of Zebedee, who is the son of Zebedee. According to Acts 12:2, James was assassinated just prior to the Jerusalem Council, which was chaired by James the brother of Jesus. It has been suggested that James the brother of Jesus and James the son of Alphaeus, a follower of Jesus’, may be the same person. These academics propose that James is a relative or stepbrother of Jesus in order to explain the discrepancy in their fathers’ surnames.
Although it is plausible, it is improbable given the fact that Jesus’ brothers did not think He was the Messiah. Their ridicule of Jesus in John 7:1-4 was the result of their disbelief, and it came after a series of events in which the 12 disciples were involved.
The Legacy of James
The life of James demonstrates the significance of the Resurrection. A skeptical skeptic is transformed into a loyal disciple after witnessing the resurrection of the crucified Jesus on the cross. His leadership of the Church in Jerusalem is an example of just, uniting, and steady servant leadership, and he should be commended for it. The purpose of the Church is shaped by the teachings of the Book of James, which include unity, fidelity in prayer and testimony, purity, endurance in the face of adversity, and compassionate care for one another and the poor.
- Photograph courtesy of Getty Images /rudall30 Jeannie Myers is a freelance writer who lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she enjoys the beauty of nature.
- Reading, camping, singing, and playing board games with her children are some of Jeannie’s favorite pastimes.
- Jeannie Myers is a freelance writer who lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she enjoys the beauty of nature.
- Reading, camping, singing, and playing board games with her children are some of Jeannie’s favorite pastimes.
Who was James, the brother of Jesus, in the Bible?
QuestionAnswer In addition to being Jesus’ half-brother, James was also the brother of Joseph, Simon, Judas, and their sisters. James was born as the son of Mary and Joseph (Matthew 13:55). James is referenced a handful of times in the Gospels, although he was not a believer at the time because he misinterpreted Jesus’ mission (John 7:2-5). James is one of the first people to see Jesus’ resurrection, and he becomes one of the most important witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:7). He subsequently remains in Jerusalem, where he becomes a member of the community of believers who gather in the upper room to pray (Acts 1:14).
- When Saul, who has lately converted to Christianity, arrives to meet with James and Peter, James is still in Jerusalem (Galatians 1:19).
- When the Jerusalem Council meets for the first time, James appears to be the apparent chairman (Acts 15:13, 19).
- Although there is no scriptural account of James’ death, it is widely assumed that he was murdered about the year 62 A.D.
- James does not identify himself by name, but just states that he is “a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” in his introduction (James 1:1).
- Throughout the book, religion is shown as an outworking, as external evidence of internal change.
- Because of his encounter with the risen Christ, James went from being a skeptic to being a leader in the church, which is evidence to the immense power that came from being a witness to Jesus’ resurrection.
- It is also important to observe James’ humility, since he never asserts his authority on the basis of his relationship to Jesus’ blood relatives.
In a nutshell, James was a kind leader, and the church benefited much as a result of his leadership. Questions about Biblical Characters Return to: Questions about Biblical Characters James, Jesus’ brother, was described in the Bible as follows:
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What Happened to Jesus’ ‘Brothers’?
Sign up for Christianity Today and you’ll gain instant access to back issues of Christian History! A number of “brothers and sisters” are referenced in the Gospels, but only James and Jude are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament—James as the leader of the early church in Jerusalem, and Jude in the brief epistle that bears his name. See “Mary” for a potential meaning of “brothers and sisters.” According to the Gospel of John, Jesus’ family was first doubtful of his mission: “Even his brothers did not believe in him,” the Gospel reads.
At the Jerusalem Council, James, the eldest of Jesus’ brothers, made the decision that Gentile Christians did not have to follow traditional Jewish rules.
Some believe he led an austere lifestyle, and it has been stated that he spent so much time in prayer that his knees “were like those of a camel.” According to Jewish historian Josephus, James was stoned to death by Jewish religious authorities.
It is unknown if this James or someone else was the author of the epistle that bears his name.
The other disciples
Sign up forChristianity Today and you’ll gain instant access to back issues of Christian History! According to the Gospels, Jesus had a number of “brothers and sisters” (see “Mary” for potential interpretations), but James and Jude are the only ones who are referenced later in the New Testament—James as a leader of the early church in Jerusalem, and Jude in the brief epistle that bears the same name. Initial doubts about his ministry were expressed by Jesus’ family: “Even his brothers did not believe in him,” according to the Gospel of John.
On March 25, AD 701, the Jerusalem Council decided that Gentile Christians were not need to follow traditional Jewish rules.
Some believe he led an austere life, and it has been said that he spent so much time in prayer that his knees “were like those of a camel.” Jeremiah the historian claimed that James was killed by stoning by Jewish officials.
Whether this James or someone else was the author of the epistle that bears his name is a matter of debate.
Following the publication of his letter of caution concerning impostors who had entered the church, it is possible that Jude himself rose to the position of respected church leader, and possibly even a traveling missionary who witnessed such issues directly.
The Apostles, Part 12: James, Brother of Jesus
As we have progressed through this study, we have spent the majority of our time looking at the life and teachings of an individual who never encountered Jesus during His earthly ministry: the apostle Paul. Toward the end of the last part, we got to the conclusion of his life, which was most likely his execution in Nero’s Rome. However, the tale of the apostles does not come to a close there. The Acts of the Apostles, written by Paul’s traveling companion Luke, has served as our primary source throughout this course.
- In spite of this, Luke refers to them as a “renewing group of 12” after Matthias takes the place of Judas (verse 26).
- Several women (including Jesus’ mother, Mary), as well as His brothers, were also present in the early days of the Church (Acts 1:14).
- They are also well-known for the literature that they have produced.
- In this section, we will look at James’ biography and literary output.
As we have progressed through this study, we have spent the majority of our time looking at the life and teachings of an individual who never encountered Jesus during His earthly ministry: the Apostle Paul. Following his death, most likely by execution in Nero’s Rome, in the last part, we came to the conclusion of his story. It is important to note that the tale of the apostles does not conclude at this point. The Acts of the Apostles, written by Paul’s traveling companion Luke, has served as our primary source for this course.
- In spite of this, Luke refers to them as a new group of 12 once Matthias takes the place of Judas (verse 26).
- Several women (including Jesus’ mother, Mary), as well as His brothers, were present in the early days of the Church (Acts 1:14).
- They are also well-known for the writings that they have done for themselves.
- The life of James as well as his literary output are discussed in this section.
James the Unbeliever
Is there anything else we can learn about James and his early life from his accounts in the Gospels? According to the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, he was one of numerous children born to Mary and Joseph following the birth of Jesus. “Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joses, and the brother of Judas and Simon?” “Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses, and the brother of Judas and Simon?” “And aren’t his sisters here with us?” I inquire.
- There was a period when James and the rest of the family were vocal in their opposition to Jesus’ work and message.
- According to John, “not even his brothers believed in him at the time” (John 7:5).
- However, despite the fact that he was Jesus’ brother, he did not fill the gap created by Judas’ death since the remaining 11 were to pick “one of the men who followed the Lord Jesus during all of the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among” the people (Acts 1:21).
- He had another encounter with James while he was bringing hunger aid to Jerusalem from the churches outside of Judea at the time (Acts 21:18).
- He said that after James’ death, the Church picked another of Jesus’ blood relations, His cousin Simon or Simeon, to be its head, meaning that James had been in charge up until that time.
- 153–217 C.E.
- According to Jerome, who was writing in the fifth century, James “controlled the church of Jerusalem for thirty years,” which corresponds to the seventh year of Nero’s reign (Lives of Illustrious Men, chapter 2).
It is most probable in this position that James authored the letter that bears his name.
James’s Tour de Force
The short book of James is a moral, theological, and literary masterpiece that deserves to be read and studied. The focus on living according to “the complete code,” “the law of liberty,” and “the royal law” (James 1:25, 2:8), while some have argued that it is at conflict with the teachings of Paul, placed it squarely within the same Judaic heritage. An in-depth investigation of its fundamental notions exposes the complimentary nature of each man’s way of seeing things. James begins by emphasizing his allegiance to “God and.
- James, who was raised in a Jewish family, was well-versed in the history of ancient Israel, particularly its roots with the 12 sons of Jacob.
- As noted in Acts 2:9–11, 1 Peter 1:1, and John 7:35, James was writing to Church members who were descended from these tribes who lived in what was then known as the Diaspora—what are now known as the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern areas.
- As a result, he places difficult circumstances in the framework of his spiritual development and growth.
- Double-mindedness accomplishes nothing; instead, peaceful faith in God’s guidance and assistance is the key (verses 5–8, emphasis added).
- According to verses 9–11, the affluent would finally fade away like the grass of the field.
- James warns against falling into the trap of blaming God for the hardships we bring on ourselves by surrendering to sin (verses 13–15), and he gives specific examples of how to avoid doing so.
- Fortunately, He differs from flawed and variable humans in that He is “the Father of lights,” with whom there is no variation or shadow caused by change.
He is the one who has decreed that His people be given truth in this life, before others, in order for them to become “a sort of firstfruits of his creations” (verses 17–18), and that they will become “a type of firstfruits of his creatures.” James places a strong focus on the practice of good living from the beginning of the epistle.
- On the one hand, he contrasts natural human methods of acting—we are slow to hear, fast to talk, and quick to become angry—with God’s ways of behaving.
- It is the Word of God that directs us in the correct direction.
- Otherwise, it’s like gazing in the mirror and recognizing what’s wrong with ourselves, but doing nothing to correct what we see (verses 23–24).
- “If anybody believes he or she is religious but does not restrain his or her mouth but deceives his or her heart, that person’s religion is useless,” he or she declares.
Throughout the letter, the idea of acting on one’s convictions will resurface. “Anyone who thinks himself religious but does not maintain a tight check on his speech is deceiving himself and his religion is useless,” the Prophet Muhammad said.
Generally speaking, the law of God encompasses all elements of human life, and James provides various illustrations of how believing should result in transformed, law-abiding behavior. As a starting point, he says in James 2:1–9 that praising one person above another based on one’s money or social standing has no place in the heavenly value system. Indeed, he claims, it is too frequently the rich that abuse and disadvantage the less fortunate and that this should be avoided. They may even make derogatory remarks about Jesus’ name.
- Two people, one well-dressed and rich, and the other in shabby clothing and poverty.
- It would be a disgrace and a humiliation to the less fortunate.
- And violating the law is considered sinful.
- For example, according to James, by refraining to commit adultery but, on the other hand, committing murder, we are guilty of breaching the entire commandment (James 2:10–11), he claims.
- We must adhere to all of it, understanding that God will judge us according to its principles, which, if followed in spirit, would liberate us from the punishment of sin: everlasting death; and we must do so with the understanding that God will judge us according to its principles (verse 12).
- He provides a second illustration of the demand for faith to be manifested in action by bringing attention to the plight of those members of the believing community who are suffering from a lack of resources.
- Faith must be demonstrated via deeds.
James demonstrates via the example of Abraham that the patriarch’s faith was followed by deeds, and as a result, he came to be recognized as “the friend of God” (verse 23).
“What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but does not demonstrate it by his actions?
The absence of deeds in the form of faith renders it ineffective.” James shifts to a longer discussion of the necessity to bridle or control one’s tongue in chapter three, which is a subject he has touched on previously.
His first point is that teaching is a dangerous profession because people who practice it are held accountable for their words, and it is simple to say things incorrectly (James 3:1–2).
Furthermore, everything we say will be used to judge us all in some way.
We control a ship with a rudder and lead a horse by putting a bit in its mouth, respectively.
However, because the tongue is so little in proportion to the rest of the body, it is extremely difficult to control.
The tongue has been compared as a fire that has the potential to set the entire world ablaze.
People have conquered or controlled all other species, but the tongue is particularly difficult to manage; like a snake, “it is a restless evil, full of deadly venom” (Aristotle) (verse 8).
This is totally incorrect.
” Despite its tiny size, the tongue is capable of incredible feats of dexterity.
How do people manage to keep their tongues under control?
James demonstrates that it is only through a personal relationship with God that we may gain knowledge and fight the nearly overpowering desire to abuse our words.
This helps to keep “earthly, unspiritualdemonic” conduct at bay (verse 15).
James’s audience, on the other hand, is riven with disagreements and turmoil.
His response is that they originate inside the human heart, which is dissatisfied by not obtaining what it wants—even if it desires something that it should not have.
This strategy has no chance of giving about pleasure in the long run.
If they follow the ways of the world to obtain their goals, they can only be considered enemies of God, the spiritual equal of adulterers in their relationship with Him (verse 4).
One of the issues they have is that they are always disparaging and criticising one another.
Following that, James provides a caution about chasing materialistic desires as though nothing could possibly go wrong with them.
The very essence of life is fleeting.
Knowing the appropriate method to do something but failing to put it into action is sin, according to him.
In a similar vein, affluent individuals are admonished to set their priorities correctly.
Otherwise, no advantage will accrue from any material possessions.
When living in such a world, the followers of James’ elder brother are expected to exercise patience until His return.
No time is wasted on little whining and moaning about one another, something humans are so prone to doing in their everyday lives.
If they want to see an example of persistence amid tough circumstances, James advises them to go no farther than Job, who knows that God is loving and merciful (verses 9–11).
Their commitment should be straightforward and true, as demonstrated by open and honest communication: “Let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you do not come under censure” (verse 12).
The epistle of James concludes with the same focus on practical displays of faith: If there are any among the believers who are suffering, they should pray to God about it, according to James. There are people who are content and they should give thanks to God for their happiness. Those who are sick should contact the Church’s leaders and seek for prayer and anointing so that God may cure them and restore them to health. When someone’s disease is caused by sin, they will be forgiven; prayer and the confession of sin are required for healing to take place.
James uses the example of Elijah (1 Kings 17; 18), who prayed that it would not rain in order to illustrate his point.
After a period of time had passed, he hoped that the rains would arrive, and indeed they did.
It is a discipline that brings about significant rewards.
As a result, James’s care for the community of believers in which he had been a part and which he had come to lead following Jesus’ death and resurrection is confirmed.